Friends, family, fans, alumni, archrivals,
Apologies for the lack of updates, a lot has happened with the Hodags since the last post. The tryout tournament proved to be the most competitive (actually, I swear) in recent years. With that said, we are immensely proud to introduce the newest additions to the Wisconsin Hodags:
This season, due to the (suspiciously) warm fall season, we were able to continue outdoor practice well into November, and got a glimpse of the team to come this spring at our one and only fall tournament at Missouri Loves Company in Colombia, MO. Seeded 2nd behind our newfound nemeses, our pool consisted of ourselves, Natty-Mich (Michigan), Cryowa (Iowa), and Carnegie-Mellon (…Carnagie-Mellon). The Hodags started their 2012-2013 with an absolute blowout against Iowa, with a final score of Wisconsin-13, Cryowa- a dismal 1 point. Next up we played Carnegie-Mellon, who the Hodags had never matched up against, and proved to be worth more than just a passing glance. They came out fighting, trading for a few points and connecting deep, but, however sloppy in the bitter Missouri wind, Hodags were able to overwhelm CM and triumphed 13-7. The last game in our pool pit us against Natty-Mich, our pseudo-rivals, with several low-key skirmishes, and even an inadvertent cleat-to-the-face. Again, Hodags persevered and ran away with a 12-6 victory. A 3-0 pool-play record won the Hodags a ticket to the prestigious under-the-lights showcase game. We geared up for a grudgematch against likely opponents like Pitt, CUT, or Colorado, but none were found. Instead, we met Arizona Sunburn (who, to his credit, Rainman predicted to be good this year). Arizona, a four seed in their pool, took down Carleton and Colorado, 9-8 and 13-10, respectively. Sunburn indeed proved a worthy adversary, punching in several one/two pass goals right out of the gate. The center handler had mastered a devastating (when downwind) high-release flick, which the Hodags had never witnessed before, and was…annoying, to say the least. In the end, however, such mortal tricks were no match for the Hodag’s relentless offense and smothering defense.
The weather at 8:30 am on Sunday can only be described as ominous, overcast, with gusty winds. Our first game was a brutal upwind-downwind match against one of our lesser regional rivals: Lu(ther)fda. Luther always gives a good fight, and for a couple points, had seemingly all but defeated an unpolished Hodag team, with a count somewhere around 7-9 Luther, and hardcap fast approaching. Things were bleak, the rain was getting heavier, winter was coming. By some incredible display of determination and heart, Hodags battled back to take a hardcap 10-9 win over Luther, by the skin of their incisors.
Finally, quarterfinals had us matched up against our true rivals, Carleton College, The CUT. As always, the game was a ridiculous back and forth fight, exacerbated by the torrential rain that had now began to fall in Colombia. Saying this game was sloppy would be a gross understatement. No amount of Patagonia could repel such intense rain, and every player, CUT and Hodag alike, had an excess 50 pounds of waterweight. With other teams running toward the pavilion, we continued on. It was an extremely close game, and the final score remains unknown. Although, it is known that CUT would take the upper hand. Due to the rain, the remainder of the tournament was cancelled, and soggy, sopping wet Hodags waddled to their cars to find dry clothes and start the long car ride home.
What did we learn from MLC? A couple of things, most importantly, however, is that the wind gods are unmerciful, and will continue ruining tournaments, no matter how unawares we pretend to be. With that said, we’ve been focusing our “off-season” on conditioning, lifting, and when we have indoor time, small-ball game and sets, as well as throwing outside anytime the temperature rises above 35. Specifically, we have two 6:30 am lifting sessions, supplemented with three night workouts and two upper body lifting sessions to be done on our own time. The indoor time is largely 4v4s and drills, with very limited full-field 7v7 time, as indoor throwing often harbors bad habits.
In the coming weeks, keep your eyes peeled for Blue-Black coverage/video highlights, and Warm-up coverage/highlights!!